Heart Health

Healthy Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List!

Need some help checking everyone off your holiday shopping list? We’ve got a some great ideas to keep you and the people you love healthy this holiday season and in the New Year!

Massage – Who doesn’t love a good massage? Man or woman, we can all benefit from a decreased risk of heart disease by reducing our stress levels.

Gym bag – For the person in your life that is always at the gym, or for someone who needs new swag to motivate them to get to the gym.

Yoga – For the friend that could benefit from flexibility, surprise him or her with a yoga mat or a session at their local yoga studio.

Exercise tracker – From the FitBit to the Up Move, tech gadgets make working out more fun than ever. Increasing steps and decreasing calorie intake will lead to a leaner, healthier friend or family member.

Blender – Your mom or wife will love you for getting her a fancy new blender! The best part? She’ll be able to whip up some amazing smoothies for breakfast to help curb her appetite throughout the day.

Bike – Know someone who might enjoy biking to work or school? A bike is a great way to get the people you love moving.

Sneakers – Everyone could benefit from a new pair of running or hiking shoes. Plan a fun trek to the top of Stone Mountain or a jog around Piedmont Park.

Sports bra – You may not believe the difference a proper fitting sports bra will make! With the appropriate amount of support, your friend or sister could work out longer and harder.

Knife set – Guys like sharp objects, and getting a new knife set is as equally exciting as getting a new tool set, expect the knife set can help him create those delicious sweet potato chips you love to snack on!

Emory Women’s Heart Center Screening – Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women? Show the women in your life just how much you care about them by scheduling a screening at the Emory Women’s Heart Center. She’ll get two hours of undivided attention to help her understand her risk of heart disease.

To learn more about the Emory Women’s Heart Center
or to make an appointment, call 404-778-7777.

Happy holidays from Emory Healthcare!

Takeaways from Dr. Lundberg’s Heart-Healthy Holiday Eating Chat

heart health holiday eatingThanks to everyone who joined us Tuesday, December 9, for our live online chat on “Heart-Healthy Holiday Eating,” hosted by the Clinical Director of the Emory Women’s Heart Center, Gina Lundberg, MD.

With holiday parties in full swing, many of us are staying busy and eating on the go or overindulging in sweet party treats. Dr. Lundberg discussed heart-healthy tips and recipes, as well as answered your questions on how to make smart food and drink decisions.

See all of Dr. Lundberg’s answers by checking out the chat transcript! Here are just a few highlights from the chat:

Question: What are some entrée or side substitutions I can make without losing the “holiday” touch?

Gina Lundberg, MDDr. Lundberg: Turkey and ham are both lean meat, so entrees aren’t usually the problem The side dishes are usually where we run into trouble. Feel free to have your ham, turkey, and even lean pork and beef, but try to avoid the potato-heavy, cheesy side dishes.

 

Question: I crave sweets every day. What can I do to satisfy my cravings without reaching for the chocolate?

Gina Lundberg, MDDr. Lundberg: The more sugar you eat, the more you crave sugar. If you stick to a diet that is higher in protein, you’ll be more satisfied and won’t crave sugar as much. Eating healthier snacks more frequently (fruit, veggies, raw nuts) will stop you from being hungry and eating the wrong things.

 

BONUS: Dr. Lundberg’s Top 10 Tips to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

holiday-health-tips

If you missed out on this live chat, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the chat transcript. If you have additional questions for Dr. Lundberg, feel free to leave a comment in our comments area below.

 

How To Get the Most Out of Your Doctor’s Visit

Doctor VisitsGoing to the doctor takes time, often comes at some expense and can raise your anxiety level – especially if you are worried that something bad could be discovered. Excellent communication between you and your doctor is essential to a meaningful visit.

Here are a few brief tips to help you get the most from your visit with an Emory Heart & Vascular Center provider:

  1. Think about your top concerns ahead of time. Jot down your top 3 questions/concerns on a piece of paper and bring them in. Show this to the doctor or nurse when they first come in to the room.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for something to be repeated if you didn’t understand it.
  3. Make sure you leave the office with a clear understanding of what we know already regarding your health concerns, what the next steps are and what the possible outcomes of any testing are.
  4. Make sure you understand how to take any new medicines and why you were prescribed these medicines.
  5. Consider bringing a relative or friend with you who can listen and ask questions on your behalf – they won’t be as anxious and can help you remember what is said during the appointment.

I am honored to be one of the doctors at Emory. It is our goal here to treat YOU, not just your symptoms or condition. If you have a concern that you want to discuss with us, we are here to help you. Just call 404-778-7777 to make an appointment with an Emory physician near you.

About Dr. Cassimatis

Dimitri Cassimatis, MDDimitri Cassimatis, MD, is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University and Director of the Coronary Care Unit at Emory University Hospital Midtown. He divides his clinical time between Emory University Hospital Midtown and Grady Memorial Hospital. He is also co-director of the first year medical student cardiovascular pathophysiology module at Emory’s School of Medicine. Dr. Cassimatis received his MD from Harvard University and then spent 11 years in the United States Army before joining Emory in 2010.

Emory Offers State-of-the-Art Therapies for Heart Rhythm Disorders

heart rhythm therapyHeart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) are common medical problems that affect millions of Americans each year. Treatments for arrhythmias vary from simple medications to specialized procedures depending on the needs of a particular patient. Fortunately, due to rapidly advancing technology, available therapies are quickly changing.

As one of the premier medical research centers in the Southeast, Emory offers some of the most cutting-edge treatments available for a wide variety of heart rhythm disorders. Highlighted below are just a few of these new advances:

Wireless pacemakers

The world’s smallest pacemakers are being implanted at Emory as part of an ongoing clinical trial. The Micra leadless pacemaker is an investigational device that is about one-tenth the size of a standard pacemaker. This device is approximately the length of a paperclip and round, like a capsule. This capsule contains all of the components of the pacemaker including the battery, and eliminates the need for the wire that is part of a standard pacemaker system.

One of the key benefits of the Micra pacemaker is that fact that it is implanted using a catheter through a vein in the front of the leg. The device is inserted directly into the heart. This process is generally quicker than a standard pacemaker procedure, and avoids the need for a surgical incision. Patients who have slow heart rates with weakness, lightheadedness, or fainting may be candidates for the Micra pacemaker clinical trial. Emory is the only center in Georgia that is participating in this trial.

Subcutaneous defibrillators

Defibrillators are devices that are designed to detect and treat life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities. They are traditionally inserted under the skin in the patient’s shoulder, with a wire (or “lead”) that travels through a vein into the heart. While these devices have proven very effective, the presence of a defibrillator lead within the bloodstream may be associated with certain long-term complications. These may include infection or scarring of the blood vessel.

The subcutaneous defibrillator is a new type of device that is placed under the skin just like a standard defibrillator. However, this new device has a lead that travels just under the skin without having to be inserted through a blood vessel. This reduces the risks associated with infection.

Cryoablation for atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder, and can be treated in a variety of ways depending on the needs of the patient. One treatment option for this arrhythmia is catheter ablation. Traditionally, ablation for atrial fibrillation involves heating, or cauterizing, certain cells involved in the generation of atrial fibrillation. One new technique that has become available in the past several years is cryoablation. This therapy involves freezing cells with a super-cooled balloon that is positioned inside the heart with the use of a catheter. Cryoablation has the potential to be quicker than standard ablation, while having similar safety and effectiveness.

Ongoing clinical trials

Emory offers several clinical trials for patients who suffer from heart rhythm disorders. These trials represent opportunities to participate in the use of cutting-edge treatments that may not be available elsewhere. To learn more about ongoing heart rhythm clinical trials at Emory, please contact:

Emory University Hospital: Janice Parrott, 404-712-5592, jparrot@emory.edu
Emory University Hospital Midtown: Paige Smith, 404-686-7992, pfsmith@emory.edu
Emory St. Joesph’s Hospital: Cindy Barnes, 678-843-6093, cynthia.barnes@emory.edu

About Dr. Hoskins

Michael Hoskins, MDMichael Hoskins, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine and electrophysiologist who practices primarily at Emory University Hospital. Dr. Hoskins received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, after which he completed his residency in internal medicine at Emory. He was chief resident in Internal Medicine from 2005 to 2006. He then completed fellowships in cardiology and electrophysiology, also at Emory, and has been practicing here since 2010. He specializes in treating cardiac arrhythmias, focusing on ablation of arrhythmias and implantation and management of pacemakers and defibrillators.

Related Links

Atrial Fibrillation and New Anticoagulation Medications

AnticoagulantsAtrial Fibrillation is a very common heart rhythm disorder that may affect patients of all ages. Typically, this type of heart arrhythmia causes symptoms including palpitations, chest pain, dizziness or shortness of breath. However, it is important to note that this disorder can sometimes (especially in the elderly) be present without any symptoms whatsoever. While this arrhythmia is often associated with other heart conditions (valve problems, hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure), in many patients, there is nothing else wrong with the heart. Patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter and 1 or more risk factors for stroke such as simply being older than 65, having diabetes or hypertension, having a history of heart failure or prior mini-strokes are often prescribed anticoagulant drugs to prevent a stroke. For decades, physicians have prescribed Coumadin (warfarin) to reduce the risk. Importantly, aspirin is not nearly as effective as Coumadin in reducing the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation and is not considered an anticoagulant.

Patients taking Coumadin require blood tests every 4-8 weeks to monitor the proper dose to be sure the drug is effective and to reduce the risk of bleeding. Certain foods can reduce the effectiveness of the drug (such as leafy greens or spinach) and often medications can interact with Coumadin that potentially increase the risk of bleeding (especially certain antibiotics). Despite these drawbacks, Coumadin has effectively been utilized for decades to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.

In the past 5 years, newer anticoagulants have been approved by the FDA for reducing the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. These include Pradaxa, Xaelto and Eliquis. Drugs such as Clopidogrel (Plavix) are not used for this purpose and like aspirin are antiplatelet drugs used for other purposes. These newer anticoagulants have the advantage of not requiring blood tests to monitor their efficacy and they have fewer interactions with foods and other medications. Large clinical trials have been performed for each of the above newer anticoagulants and 3 drugs have been tests in head to head comparisons with Coumadin for efficacy and bleeding complications. The trials have demonstrated that all of the newer agents are at least as effective as Coumadin without a significant increase in bleeding risk. Despite the fact that all the newer agents do not have an antidote (such as vitamin K or plasma) in patients who are bleeding, this has not translated into a significant increase in bleeding risk in the large trials, and therefore, is why they have been approved by the FDA.

That being said, all anticoagulants carry a risk of bleeding and the decision to use Coumadin or any of the newer drugs is a decision requiring close consultation and discussion with your physician. It is important to promptly notify your physicians if you have had atrial fibrillation, are not taking an anticoagulant and you have any symptoms of a mini-stroke, even if the symptoms resolve on their own.

It is also important to note that all of the above also applies to patients with atrial flutter, another arrhythmia similar to atrial fibrillation. The above does not apply to patients with palpitations and tachycardia unless atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter has been confirmed with an EKG.

If you have symptoms that suggest you might have episodes of atrial fibrillation or you have already been diagnosed with an arrhythmia and wish to discuss the use of Coumadin or any of the newer agents, you can contact your existing cardiologist, or call HealthConnection at 404-778-7777 to make an appointment with an Emory cardiologist near you.

Related Resources

Understanding Peripheral Vascular Disease

PVDDo you experience painful muscle cramps in your hips, thighs or calves when moving around? You may be surprised to learn that this is the primary symptom of peripheral vascular disease (PVD). PVD is defined as diseases of the arteries outside of the heart and brain. PVD is a term used interchangeably with peripheral artery disease, or PAD, but PVD encompasses diseases of the arteries AND veins.

Arteries move blood away from the heart, and PAD typically involves the narrowing of the arteries that transport blood to the arms and legs. Veins take the blood back to the heart and generally don’t get narrowed with cholesterol, but rather develop another very common condition called chronic venous insufficiency (varicose veins).

PAD – Arteries

Many patients go undiagnosed because the symptoms can be attributed to something else, such as arthritis, a neuropathy or normal stiffness that occurs with aging. Patients with PAD may also experience numbness, weakness or coldness in one or both legs. Often the symptoms come on slowly and the patient starts altering their life style and become more sedentary.

On the other hand, at least half of people who suffer from PAD have no signs or indications at all. Risk factors for PAD include aging, personal or family history, cardiovascular disease or stroke. Controllable risk factors include:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Physical inactivity
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure Renal failure

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

This is more common than PAD and may start at an early age. The symptoms of this may include any one or more of the following: legs feeling heavy or tired especially at the end of the day, mild swelling of ankles, severe cramps at night time, restless legs, itching of legs, or formation of visible veins on the leg. In severe cases the skin around the ankle area may get darker in color and sores may form, generally above the ankle, which are slow to heal.

Some of the risk factors include age, family history of varicose veins, obesity, standing for long periods on hard surfaces and history of blood clots or phlebitis in the leg.

If you have any of the above symptoms or would like to discuss your risk factors, talk to your healthcare provider. PVD diagnosis begins with a physical examination.

At Emory, treatment of PVD is a combined effort within the Emory Heart & Vascular Center, the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy and Interventional Radiology. To make an appointment, call 404-778-7777.

About Khusrow Niazi, MD

Khusrow Niazi, MDDr. Niazi specializes in interventional cardiology, carotid artery disease, peripheral artery disease and venous disease of the legs. He has been practicing at Emory since 2003. He has been involved in many trials in treating blockages in the carotid arteries and leg arteries with less invasive options. Dr. Niazi is involved in trials focused on the removal of plaque from the leg arteries with less invasive methods. He also has treated many patients with chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

Cardiology Experts Near You

Women's Heart ScreeningsEmory Women’s Heart Center (EWHC) is a unique program dedicated to the diagnosis, screening, treatment and prevention of heart disease in women. The Center provides comprehensive heart screenings for patients at risk for cardiovascular disease as well as a full range of treatment options for those already diagnosed with heart disease. According to the NIH, heart disease kills 1 in 4 women. Fortunately, many women can take preventive measures to minimize their risk of a cardiovascular event by controlling their risk factors.

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or physical inactivity, family history of premature heart disease, high cholesterol, menopause, mental stress and certain pregnancy-related conditions (eclampsia, preeclampsia or gestational diabetes) or autoimmune diseases (lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).

At our Lithonia office, we have both Family Practice and Cardiology providers to offer the following services:

  • Annual health & wellness evaluations for your entire family
  • Heart screenings for women who could be at risk for heart disease, but have not been diagnosed with heart disease
  • Diagnostic cardiac care for women who are currently experiencing symptoms of heart disease
  • Health counseling and advice to empower women to take steps to prevent heart disease
  • Long-term management of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression or heart disease
  • Preoperative cardiac evaluation
  • Routine immunizations: influenza, tetanus, pneumovax, etc.
  • Referrals to Emory specialists as needed

To make an appointment with the Emory Women’s Heart Center, please call 404-778-7777 to speak to an Emory HealthConnection nurse. View other convenient Emory Women’s Heart Center locations.

Please note: Comprehensive heart screenings are for patients who are at risk for heart disease but are not having symptoms and have not been diagnosed with heart disease.

Physician Spotlight

Ijeoma Isiadinso, MD Ijeoma Isiadinso, MD is Director at Emory Women’s Heart Center at Lithonia. This location is particularly convenient for patients and their families because it provides patients with access to both cardiologists and general medicine specialists.

Dr. Isiadinso is passionate about preventing heart disease in women and has clinical interests in cardiovascular disease prevention, preoperative evaluation, cardiovascular risk reduction, coronary artery disease, hypercholesterolemia, counseling on lifestyle changes for patients at risk, or with, family history of heart disease. . Her research interests include inequalities in health care, community and preventive health, lipid disorders, women and heart disease, and program development and evaluation.

Dr. Isiadinso is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, nuclear cardiology, echocardiography and cardiovascular computed tomography. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the Association of Black Cardiologists, the American College of Cardiology, the American Society of Preventive Cardiology and the American Public Health Association.

Benefits of Stress Reduction

Stress ReductionWhether it’s a tight work deadline, an overdue bill or busy parental duties, stress affects all of us. It’s important to understand how stress impacts your health before it starts to severely impact your wellbeing. Reducing stress can help slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, increase blood flow and lower fatigue.

According to the American Heart Association, stress may affect a person’s risk for heart disease, which is the leading killer of Americans.

Things you can do to reduce stress include meditation, eating healthy foods, breathing deeply and leaning on loved ones for support. For some people, simply slowing down may help, while for others, moving around and/or exercising may be the answer.

To learn more about stress reduction, please join us for the annual Reward Your Heart event hosted by Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. You can enjoy an evening of relaxation and heart-healthy information, featuring chair massages, yoga demonstrations and delicious tastings of wines, specialty olive oils and dark chocolates.

The evening will include informal consultations with physicians, nutritionists and exercise specialists from Emory Healthcare. Learn about “Stress and the Effects on Your Heart” with speaker Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, world-renowned expert on stress and the heart.

Reward Your Heart Event Details

WHEN: Thursday, November 13, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Doctors Center Building Atrium
5671 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30342

COST: Tickets are $20 per person or $35 per couple. Register online at med.emory.edu/RewardYourHeart or mail a check payable to Emory Women’s Heart Center at:
Department of Medical Education
5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342

Emory Healthcare provides the following resources to connect with world-renowned cardiovascular specialists:
Emory Heart & Vascular Center
Emory Women’s Heart Center

About Dr. Cutchins

Alexis CutchinsAlexis Cutchins, MD is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Cutchins completed medical school at Emory University School of Medicine before going to New York Presbyterian Hospital for her Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine. She completed an NIH-supported research fellowship in vascular biology and a clinical fellowship in cardiovascular diseases at the University of Virginia in 2012. She has a special interest in heart disease in women in addition to heart disease prevention and risk reduction in cardiology patients.

Dr. Cutchins has published several different articles on adipose tissue distribution and obesity in journals such as Circulation Research, Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and Stroke and has a special interest in the effects of adipose tissue distribution on the heart.

Dr. Cutchins is board certified in Internal Medicine (2007) and Cardiovascular Diseases (2012). She is a member of several professional organizations including the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
Dr. Cutchins sees patients at Emory Heart & Vascular Center at Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory Heart & Vascular Center at Emory Saint Joseph’s.

She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, their three daughters and their dog. She loves to cook and ride horses.

Reward Your Heart 2014

Reward HeartEmory Saint Joseph’s Hospital is hosting an evening of relaxation and heart-healthy information, featuring chair massages, yoga demonstrations and delicious tastings of wines, specialty olive oils and dark chocolates, as part of its annual Reward Your Heart event.

The evening will include informal consultations with physicians, nutritionists and exercise specialists from Emory Healthcare. Learn about “Stress and the Effects on Your Heart” with speaker Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, world-renowned expert on stress and the heart.

Reward Your Heart Event Details

WHEN: Thursday, November 13, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Doctors Center Building Atrium
5671 Peachtree Dunwoody Road
Atlanta, GA 30342

TICKETS: Tickets are $20 per person or $35 per couple. Register online at med.emory.edu/RewardYourHeart or mail a check payable to Emory Women’s Heart Center at:
Department of Medical Education
5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342

MORE INFO: For more information about the Reward Your Heart event, call 678-843-5863, or visit emoryhealthcare.org/womensheart

Emory Participates in 2014 Metro Atlanta Heart Walk

Emory Atlanta Heart WalkEmory Healthcare once again joined the American Heart Association (AHA) in raising awareness of heart disease, aka “the silent killer,” at the 2014 Metro Atlanta Heart Walk on Sept. 20. The non-competitive, three-mile walk raises funds to help fight America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers, heart and stroke, through corporate, survivor, and community teams who encourage others to donate to the cause.

The Metro Atlanta Heart Walk is deeply embedded within Emory Healthcare culture. Every year, hundreds of Emory Healthcare employees sign-up to lead teams, raise money and walk to benefit initiatives driven by the AHA. More than 1250 Emory Healthcare employees walked among the 15,000 registrants, and raised $225,000, the most of any corporate sponsor in Georgia.

The AHA’s work in research and prevention aligns with the Emory Healthcare’s mission to educate health professionals and leaders for the future while pursuing discovery research in all of its forms. With 29% of Georgians reported as obese, the event is designed to help participants understand how critically important it is to incorporate as little as 30 minutes of physical activity in their daily lives to prevent cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Association’s goal is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020. For information about heart screenings, please visit www.emoryhealthcare.org/heart or call 404-778-7777.